Megastar LeBron James, who has spent much of his basketball career tormenting the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs, joined the Red Sox ownership group on Wednesday.
James' RedBird Capital Partners made a significant investment in Fenway Sports Group, which is the parent company of the Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club.
James, currently with the Los Angeles Lakers, had owned a 2% share of the Liverpool soccer franchise since 2011, but that previously held interest was exchanged to become part of the FSG ownership group. Maverick Carter, James’ close friend and longtime business associate, is also joining FSG.
“Over the years, Fenway Sports Group has been able to attract a dedicated group of executives and partnerships seeking to compete for titles in the most challenging and rewarding landscapes," said principal owner John W. Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon in a statement. "Our strategic partnership with [founder and managing partner] Gerry [Cardinale] and the entire team at RedBird will enhance our ability to pursue future growth opportunities in a more accelerated way but with the same selectiveness that has served us so well.
“We are also pleased to welcome to our ownership group LeBron, Maverick and Paul [Wachter], with whom we have enjoyed a successful collaboration for well over a decade. Their addition is an important milestone for FSG and expands and deepens a longtime friendship and relationship that began in 2010."
Aside from being one of the best athletes in the history of sports, the 36-year-old James has long been prominent in business ventures. By becoming a partner in FSG, James also becomes part-owner of several other FSG subsidiaries, which include Roush Fenway Racing, NESN and Fenway Sports Management.
“Working with Fenway Sports Group for the past decade has taught LeBron and me so much about the business on a global scale, and we’ve always believed it would lead to something bigger,” said Carter in a statement. “We are proud to be part of this iconic ownership group and are excited about the opportunities that come with that to continue creating change and empowering people of every race, gender and background to be part of the process.”
The addition of James is just one big development for FSG. The corporation also recently approved a $750 million private investment that would make RedBird Capital Partners its third-largest partner.
“I mean, the guy is, his impact on the court is amazing but off the court, off the charts, right?” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “And, you know, I'm a big fan of his. What he's done in the sport is unreal, and the impact in his area, where he lives, you know, he's impacted a lot of people, and that's all I can say right now."
The rivalry between James and Boston has always been a big one. The Celtics knocked “The King” and the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the playoffs in 2008 and ’10, making the NBA Finals in both of those seasons.
But James has owned the Celtics in subsequent years, knocking them out of the playoffs with the Miami Heat in 2011 and ’12, and then in his return to the Cavs in ’15, ’17 and ’18.
Of course, James now plays for the Celtics’ longtime rivals in Los Angeles, and you can only imagine how things would ratchet up if those teams met up in the Finals again.